Linking to the Same Source
Many websites are tempted to send all of their link juice through the homepage, believing it will distribute authority evenly across the site, but Google is wise to this line of thinking and sending all of your links to the homepage becomes counter-intuitive. It makes sense; if someone is linking to your website, unless it is for the brand itself, they would link to the page that is useful or relevant to their purpose. This goes back again to providing value, as I’ve discussed in previous articles. It’s important to link to deep web pages that serve an important function in your conversion funnel.
Look at Wikipedia, the 5th most popular website in the world, which sends less than 1% of its links to the homepage.
Not Diversifying Links
Along this same principle, you should not continually acquire backlinks from the same source, especially in a short period of time. Each successive link you gather from the same domain results in a diminished return. This principle does not apply as much to links gathered over an extended period of time, but it is important to note, so try to gather links from various sources to avoid being flagged as manipulative and to gather as many leads for your business as available.
Link building also involves building relationships with other thought leaders to extend your brand’s reach. Spamming publishers from your industry with cold reach outs will be costly to your business and its backlink strategy in the long-run.
Consider building “nofollow” links on low-authority websites, relevant to your niche. “Nofollow” links don’t pass authority through your website, but they still drive the relevant traffic. Search engines value link diversity, including possessing a nice basket of “nofollow” and “dofollow” links.
Producing quality, evergreen content remains the soundest practice for acquiring high authority and highly relevant backlinks. Often, webmasters spin content with heavy keyword focus to submit to niche guest blogs.
Google’s RankBrain is able to interpret content quality and match it to user intent. Thin and irrelevant content will not rank highly and will hurt your domain authority, even with natural backlinks pointing back at it. Search engines will be able to spot the manipulation.
So you’ve produced some quality content and your website has gained some exposure with highly relevant backlinks. Now, it’s time to scale that link portfolio and target some high-authority domains for link acquisition.
While link relevance remains an important search ranking metric, your website will not gain trust quickly without acquiring high-authority backlinks. Failing to scale your backlink portfolio results in stagnant organic growth and will leave you in the same space as a webmaster who violated a Penguin penalty. While relying on your content marketing may be ideal, this strategy may take years to establish domain authority and naturally gather authoritative backlinks.
Ignoring Relationship Building
Finally, link building contains multiple benefits for expanding your brand’s presence in your vertical. Relationship building remains the greatest perk of link building. By teaming up with other thought leaders in your field you could guest post content with valuable backlinks on other websites that will drive highly relevant visitors and leads to your website.
Also, you need to treat other webmasters as real people. No one wants to feel like they are just a link, so take a moment to appreciate how much effort they put into their website. You know how difficult it is, so respect the fact that they are in the same endeavor, just further along.
Penguin’s latest update allows webmasters to rectify Penguin penalties to receive immediate results. The skeletons of Google’s past has led the company to seriously evaluate the intent of all content it crawls to determine manipulation. We create content to rank our website and acquire backlinks for search visibility, so it needs to be high quality and valuable. Avoid the search engine police and avoid the practices found in this list of link building mistakes that could land your website in chains. Consult Link Building 101 for tips to expand your backlink portfolio and white-hat practices you can utilize.